The Stream
Events, Alerts and News in the W&W Territory

Club-wide Call: the American Power Act    Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) recently released draft language of their comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. Read more ...
When Is Enough Enough?    The crew that narrowly escaped the inferno on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, leaving behind 11 dead, were not the only survivors. We are all survivors.  Read more ...
Outing: Canoe the Nippersink    Save the date. Read more ...
Illinois Environmental Legislation    Focus your Illinois legislators' attention on important environmental bills. Read more ...
Join the Discussion    Read more ...
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Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard/Justin Stumberg

Club-wide Call:
American Power Act

Monday, May 17th at 7:30pm

You are invited to attend a Club-wide Call on the American Power Act on Monday, May 17th. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) recently released draft language of their comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. Join this call to hear what we like, what needs to be improved, and what you can do to ensure that the final bill which is taken to the Senate floor is strong.

Call Agenda:

  • Welcome and Context
  • Outline of the American Power Act
  • Campaign Tactics, Tools and Resources
  • Questions and Answers

Please enroll for this one hour call at: .

Once we see draft legislation we will want to be sure that the Senate hears from us.

Join our Winning Wednesday phone bank, May 19th:

Additional information and materials:

Warm Regards,
Christina Marie Yagjian
National Conservation Organizer
Sierra Club, Global Warming and Energy

Photo Credit: (Otto Candies/US Coast Guard Press / CC BY)
When Is Enough Enough?

The crew that narrowly escaped the inferno on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, leaving behind 11 dead, were not the only survivors. We are all survivors. We are all taking the risk that we can continue our unhealthy relationship with oil without getting burned, and this time we've lost big.

While BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives have begun pointing fingers at each other, some of the survivors are blowing the whistle. Decision makers at the companies chose to overlook clear information that the rig was unsafe in the weeks before the fire. It seems that the perpetrators have been identified, and they will be forced to pay the bill.

Estimates of the costs are wild speculations, but BP's $5.6B profits and $83B revenues for the first quarter of this year make it clear that these costs will barely slow them down. A few $billion for the shrimpers, a few more for the tourism industry, one for the grieving families, will all be spread out over years of litigation (don't forget a few $billion for the lawyers). Meanwhile it will be business as usual for BP. Even legislation to increase their liability to $10B will be quickly oiled over.

The wildlife will have a harder time. Shorelines essential to millions of birds and amphibians are being slicked. As we learned in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill, that oil will continue to contaminate those beaches for decades - and this spill is likely at least five times more. The fishing industry is expecting the worst. Meanwhile, toxic dispersant chemicals injected into the water to keep the oil beneath the surface will only leave it at the bottom instead, where it will contaminate the Gulf food chain for at least a century to come.

We should not be satisfied with the word "spill" to describe the discharge of oil into our public waters. A spill is a minor, unforeseeable accident: "Don't cry over spilled milk." This is different. Most oil discharges are predictable, if not individually, then in aggregate, averaging at least one per year since 1940. The whistle blowers are saying that this one was more predictable than most. Considering the "too big to fail" consequences, why weren't there fail-safe back-up systems, with warning and automatic shutdown systems on the back-up systems?! No, this discharge is being revealed as the result of carefully considered, horrendous risk, deliberately taken to incrementally increase extreme corporate profits. It shows the cavalier regard of the oil industry for the welfare and future of life on this planet. When countries violate the interests of other countries in this way, war is often the outcome. Will we declare war on the poisoning of our planet by the fossil fuel industry?

BP did not act alone. They bypassed the law because regulators allowed it. They drill for oil and gas because we buy it. When BP threatened to dump more pollution into Lake Michigan, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk prepared legislation that would strip BP of lucrative tax breaks Did anyone ask why BP is getting those breaks in the first place? Kirk's showy introduction of H.R.6385 - Apollo Energy Independence Act of 2008, like most of his environmental legislation, went nowhere. BP gets subsidies because we elect politicians that support corporate welfare.

Ironically, this disaster might delay or weaken the Climate Change legislation that we need to reduce the chances of future disasters. Political delay has given the oil industry time to sow the seeds of doubt. Now they are harvesting a crop of mislead climate change deniers, weakening our collective resolve to make bold changes for a better future. Offshore drilling, a cynical bargaining chip offered to legislators unable to contemplate a fossil free economic recovery, is off the table now. What other vice can we offer to indulge to induce this deal - nuclear perhaps? We should be careful not to demonize those who supply the drug for our addiction, and instead, all prepare to go to rehab together. What measures and incentives will be necessary to confront the status quo?

Our demand for oil and gas is greater when we live in wasteful, super-sized homes in spread-out suburbs, and drive long distances in gas guzzling cars and trucks. When we cut our veins we bleed oil. This tragedy is our whistle blower. Will we listen, or will Rt. 53 / Rt. 120 expressways continue to be the top transportation priority for our region, dooming us to more driving to more inefficient development? We have the technology to live more efficiently, use less oil and gas in better communities with less pollution. It's never too late to choose it.

Nippersink 2007
Outing: Canoe the Nippersink

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Nippersink is one of the highest quality streams in the region. We will canoe two re-meandered sections, pause to climb up a kame, survey the valley, and learn about the Hack-ma-tack National Wildlife Refuge proposal for the area.

This outing is for experienced paddlers who have the ability to accurately turn and position a canoe in moving water.

More details soon. Save the date! 

Rep. Eddie Washington

Illinois Environmental Legislation

It's not too late to take action to support our legislative efforts. Call while the Assembly is on recess.

  • SB3388 / HB4875. “No New Nukes”. Fact Sheet / Take Action Now  We oppose this bill to lift the moratorium on new nuclear energy plants. This has already passed the Senate. Representatives Osmond and Washington in the W&W district are co-sponsors. Contact Osmond and Washington in opposition to this bill.
  • HB6099. “Green Lawns, Clean Water”. Fact Sheet Eliminates the application of phosphorus by professional lawn care companies. This has passed the House. Sent to the Senate for approval.
  • SB3750 / HB6088. “BPA-Free Kids Act”. Fact Sheet / Take Action Now. Protects children’s health by eliminating Bisphenol-A (BPA) from children’s food packaging. Has not passed either the House or the Senate.
  • SB2505, 3686, 1503 / HB 6013, 6202, 5429. “Renew Illinois”. Fact Sheet / Take Action Now. Rebuild our economy with new energy work - a series of bills designed to promote green jobs while removing obstacles to the green energy economy. Includes better net metering program, interim benchmarks for solar production, homeowner access to low interest loans through a voluntary tax assessment, and ensures a homeowner’s right to install renewable energy systems. HB 6202 and 5429 have passed the House. No bills have passed the Senate yet.

To get more information on the bills, whether your legislator has cosponsored them, and how they vote, go to Illinois Legislative Tracker. There are links above to contact your legislators to support our legislative initiatives.

Join the Discussion

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